Yan K-K, Gerstein M, 2011 The Spread of Scientific Information: Insights from the Web Usage Statistics in PLoS Article-Level Metrics. PLoS ONE 6(5): e19917. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0019917
There is some interesting analysis in this paper. Popular papers are downloaded more than less popular papers (this is the definition of popularity), but irrespective of popularity, downloads all decay with a consistent pattern:
- Rapid decline within the first month of publication
- Slower decline thereafter (a long tail)
nontrivial herding behavior analogous to what we referred to as famecoupled with the Matthew effect - a stochastic model of information diffusion (Circles of Geeks). Clearly, the only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about.